On the biggest occasion of them all anything can happen. Especially in a tournament that’s been rife with upsets and surprise. But there’s always some things you can put your money on……
Zaba the warrior WILL hurt his head
The watching world was aghast when Argentinean right-back Pablo Zabaleta sustained a nasty cut to the mouth during the semi-final v Holland yet continued his marauding ways complete with bloodied bandage. Rarely do we witness such acts of heroism in the modern game where a simple hamstring tweak requires a stretcher, oxygen, and a troupe of paramedics.
Yet any Manchester City fan will tell you that it’s all in a day’s work for Zaba the warrior. He ALWAYS gets a head wound at some point during the ninety and – after casually depositing some teeth or a litre of blood into the care of the physio – will run himself into the ground for the cause.
His bravery and dedication has spawned a saying in the Etihad stands – “Always be yourself. Unless you can be Pablo Zabaleta. Then always be Pablo Zabaleta”.
Hansen will be extra critical
After 22 years of giving defenders hell from a BBC studio Captain Scarlett is giving up his punditry role. So expect plenty of ‘diabolicals’ and trademark exasperation at switched-off centre-backs and full-backs not tucking in even if the deadlock is broken with a 30 yard screamer.
Surely though with accomplished stoppers in Garay and Hummels on display the surly ex-Liverpool legend will have peaked already with Brazil’s shambles in the semis. Seeing him attempt to dissect Luiz’s repeated lapses of madness has proven to be one of the comedy moments of 2014.
There will be no freak scoreline
Despite some utterly jaw-dropping results lighting up this tournament – namely Holland’s demolition of the holders Spain and of course last Tuesday’s surreal 7-1 – this is the biggest event on the biggest stage with the biggest prize of all on offer and surely conservatism and nerves will hold sway. Neither team will open up and will understandably look to individual magic from a Messi or Ozil to make the difference.
With an inevitably tight game ahead a good bet to win the World Cup Final in the Cutter’s opinion is Germany who are masterful at enduring the pressure and grinding out the result.
Masch will outperform Messi
Granted Messi has had his moments during this World Cup – his overcoming of Bosnia and crucial last-gasp assist against the Swiss spring to mind – and he has certainly took strides ahead of Ronaldo in the rather tiresome ‘Who is the greatest’ debate.
But any aficionado worth his salt will point to the peerless performances of Javier Mascherano in the centre of the park as the real reason a surprisingly perfunctory Argentina side has reached the final.
The Barca man’s probing, biting challenges, and energy has lifted his side when required and outright saved them when really required.
Another big showing from the 30 year old could take la albiceleste all the way to glory. A solitary exquisite touch by Messi meanwhile will probably garner more praise.
Klose will come alive from 12 yards
After breaking ‘Fat Ronaldo’s’ World Cup goalscoring record with his 16th against the Brazilians on Tuesday the arch-poacher Miroslav Klose will be desperate to go out all-guns blazing in his final appearance on the biggest stage.
Amazingly all 16 goals from the Lazio hitman have come from 12 yards or in meaning he is surely the greatest goalhanger of all time and we don’t mean that disrespectfully. The artful ‘fox in the box’ specialist is a dying breed these days and it’s wonderful to see it be enacted so expertly from the veteran who – should he score at the weekend – will have netted as many goals across four tournaments as the entire England side.